Lyrics: Songs That Inspire & Fuel Creativity
Music has been a central part of everything in my life. This is something I have mentioned many times on this blog and my podcast. I could probably have a thousand lists of songs that I could share. But I wanted to bring in writing and the creativity that music can give each of us. Writing is a journey with everything. Not only the story but from the moment the idea sparks in your mind to the last period you put on the paper or on the screen. I don’t know about you, but when I write, I write with music. It is a constant. Have you ever stopped to listen to the lyrics? Most of the music I listen to is powered by the sheer inspiration of the lyrics. In my humble opinion, the best songwriter out there is Paul Simon. A close second is Martin Gore of Depeche Mode. You may have other opinions, which is fine. For this post let me take you on a lyrical journey of some ridiculously well-written and beautiful songs that can spark your creativity and inspire.
If you have ever visited my top five lists, you know that Simon and Garfunkel are on there. One of the songs I mention is Patterns. The best way I can describe this song is that when you are contemplating life and thinking about what it all means, this song just goes along with those specific thoughts. My favorite lines of the song are as follows:
Whether you query life and get a little introspective with the world around you, there is no denying that is some good writing right there. This can serve as inspiration for a character. One that may have issues figuring out where their life is going and what they should be doing. There is a lot we can take away from this song.
Another song that I am sure I have talked about many times, is Ordinary World by Duran Duran. I played this song to death on the bus to and from school. It was the soundtrack of how I got through 7th and 8th grade. I don’t count Duran Duran as excellent songwriters. Many of their songs make no sense, while they are catchy there isn’t any substance to the words. At least for me. But their Wedding Album and a few songs beyond that era, have produced well-written material. Perhaps through maturity? I am not sure, but Ordinary World is really on another level altogether.
Writing about life and survival? This is your song. When a character has met some horrible troubles through their life, this is their song. Finding that even though things are bad, there are ways to keep going and survive.
This next song is probably my all-time favorite by Depeche Mode. However, I can find others that I love almost as much. This was another one I used to help me get through school and beyond. When we are searching for a character to write about, we want a dynamic and three-dimensional one that comes off the page. Using these songs can give key features of their personality. What do they think about life? How did they get through the day?
This is something I must remind myself of every day. I need to step out and be myself and not hide behind something. I am the main character of my life and I need to step onto that stage. How perfect are these lyrics? These lyrics could also be with bringing out that story that is within you. You need to get those words on the paper and tell that story.
As I searched for more music and something different to listen to, I stumbled upon Delerium. They normally pair a beautiful female voice with a haunting melody. Their one album called “Poem” is a great representation of some beautiful songs matched with equally beautiful lyrics. The one that I picked to add to this post is “A Poem for Byzantium”.
In a lot of the books that I read, the main character usually ends up with someone or stays with the person they were already with. Perhaps being alone is what is more needed. Or needed for some but not all. I always thoughts that since I was on my own, there was something wrong with that. Right now, I am enjoying it.
A lot of these songs have something to do with getting through life and just making the best of it. Finding that common point to feel like you are with the rest of the population. Another song I really like is Manic Star by Conjure One. The lyrics speak of how we are just a tiny piece of the complete puzzle. The universe is so big, we must live our best lives regardless of how big or small we are.
I think the song gives perspective to everything else. In a story we need perspective. What does the main character mean to the rest of the story? How do they affect the rest of the characters? Knowing how that all connects gives you a good foundation for the story.
Sometimes songs can give us a bit of liberation. Showing that we can take control of our lives and move forward no matter what we have been through. That song for me is Control by Poe. I felt for a good portion of my life, I didn’t have control of what I was doing. I didn’t know where I was going and what I wanted out of it.
While this has a lot of weight behind it, it is a great song to gather inspiration from. I am working on a story about someone who is in a relationship that isn’t the healthiest. When the main character needs to realize that they need to know who they are and what they want. Working on yourself is what should come first. It isn’t selfish, it is what is needed to know who you are and what you want out of life.
Music touches on almost every aspect of life. Be it sadness, anger, happiness, and love. If you are feeling some type of way, you can find a song that will meet your needs. A song that I can relate to in a way that changes the way I act depending on the people I am with is Perfect Machine by Starset. When I was in school, I was one way, when I am home, I am another way, and so on and so forth. However, this song may be more along the lines of relationships, which I am sadly not that versed in. I can relate in another way to how I have had to change over time and in different situations.
While not as eloquent as some of the songs I prefer, it does resonate. This can be used to garner emotions for someone that may have deceived you or the main character in a story. Use those emotions to give the character that did the deceiving and then how it felt for the one on the receiving end.
When we write a story, depending on the kind of story, there are elements that work out in the end. Whether the murderer was found, the adventure ended and found what they were looking for, or true love was found. Kind of like a fairy tale. There are books out there that break standards and the bad guy gets away or it is over a serial set of books. We all want the good guy to win, and we want to see the bad guy get what they deserve. We want that couple to find each other and get together in a “happily ever after” scenario. The song I Am Only One by We Are The Fallen puts it rather well.
“I’m on my own here, and
No-one’s left to be the hero.
This fairy tale’s gone wrong as
Night will fall, my heart will die alone.
Ever after never came,
And I’m still waiting for my heart to beat again.
And all the dreams I lay to rest,
The ghost that keeps me, after all that I’ve become,
I am only one.”
-“I Am Only One” We Are The Fallen
Sometimes life doesn’t give us the hero. Sometimes we never meet “the one”. Sometimes it is us against the world and we must learn to stand on our own. Perhaps by bringing that into a novel format, we can relate to real-world issues. Creative non-fiction can be used in this instance. I also understand people turn to books to escape that stark reality. But we can have both.
Last but certainly not least I have the song Gravity by A Perfect Circle. This is another song that even though there are points that bring us down, we choose to move forward. It is an inspiring and melodic song. I like the symbolism and that even with all that, there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we keep moving.
For me, I would write about a character that is looking for a reason to keep going. They will obviously go through ups and downs, but then maybe find someone or something that sparks that positive turning point. Then they begin their journey back into the light.
Music is inspiration amplified. You can use it as background sound to help focus and you can use it to help develop a character. Do you have favorite lyrics? If you want to share, comment below. I am always looking for new music I have yet to discover. Who knows, maybe I will the inspiration I need to finish my novel. I hope you have enjoyed this rather long post. But like I have said before, music is my life blood. I will always go into detail about why I love it.